I just started to yoyo.
My initial experience was actually quite bad. When I was 7, I was given a white Duncan Imperial(wood, not sure what the axle was). I could never properly operated it. I didn’t know how to throw it, nor was I shown, nor would anyone show me and all requests for help were answered with me being told I was stupid. I tried throwing it DOWN, PALM DOWN, but I could never get it to really return, much less sleep. Yes, it would usually creep back up the string around 50% at best. Palm up never occurred to me. I was yelled at for being so stupid for not being able to use a yoyo. Finally, after MONTHS of trying, the string broke, and I was yelled at for breaking the string. Well, nobody knew, myself included, that strings wear out. Anyhow, it was gathered up and summarily discarded and I got further punishment for breaking my toys. That was winter, 1978 to spring of 1979 time range.
Sucks. Really sucks. Saw yoyo on TV, thought it was cool. Saw people in the park throwing, thought it was cool. Got one, couldn’t do anything with it, if only I had gotten some guidance. So, the yoyo was gone, but my interest never faded, just in a status of “undetermined and largely forgotten”. But, not having spare care to spend on yoyos or even really actively persuing it, yoyo was just something I’d see on TV once in a while, and it was “you know, that’s just really cool”.
So, skip a whole lot of crap(OK, my life, whatever), and jump to May of 2011. I love what I do for a living: computers, networking, R&D, but also audio sound production and lighting design and own and operate a data communications company and live production company. But, it’s hard to have proper fun when you can’t set up your favorite console because it’s not only too big, but too heavy to do by yourself(5 feet tall in the case on wheels, and 84 inches wide and 400 pounds. The lid is 80 pounds on its own). I needed a different hobby. YoYo. That should be fairly affordable and available.
So, off to do some of the lamest research on yoyos. Lame, being I didn’t make much of an effort mainly because I didn’t realize that the yoyo went from simple to high-tech in 37 years. And who do I blame for this? Andre Boulay. If Andre does read this, he should be aware I hold him in high regards. I found his videos on YouTube, and he had “how to do this, how to do that”. I also saw some Hiroyuki Suzuki videos, but those made my head hurt. I hadn’t discovered YYE yet, but I found videos that I felt would get me over my initial hurdles. And, he did. So I started with a Reflex and an Imperial, since that’s all the local Toys R Us had and I felt Duncan was the best company around, even with Yomega on pegs nearby. I noticed “hey, he’s got a fancy yoyo, since i really want to do this, it might be time to step up to something modern”. Sometimes it’s best to use the same thing your instructor is using to at least have common starting point. Now I have a Dark Magic II and loving it for now.
Now 2 of my kids are into it, one has a ONE, the other has a BRAIN. Because I am into it. And my eldest kid, at 7, with her ONE, did a Jamaican Flag on her own a couple of days ago because she sees practice works.
My goal isn’t to save the world through yoyo. Right now I’m sort of on an anti-toys-with-batteries phase. I remember stuff like Slinky, Etch-A-Sketch, Play-Doh, Lego, Lincoln Logs, wind-up toys and stuff like that. While I absolutely gotta have my GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS, they don’t get used so much. But it seems almost every toy has to beep and light up to be fun anymore and I’m getting tired of it. Kids don’t know how to play these days without batteries involved or plugged into the internet or it’s gotta be a video game system.
My goal isn’t to be some master or champion, but to have fun. But I also want to expose kids to the world of yoyo, doing small and simple presentations on National YoYoDay in pre schools or in grade schools. Show some tricks, do a short routine, show different styles, show a few short videos, show a wide variety of yoyos, answer questions and have some promotional yoyos to give out. And yes, I realize there’s gonna be some 7-10 year olds who could smoke me at yoyo, but that’s not the point. The point is to introduce and expose new people to something different. We’re losing kids to video games and computer massive multiplayer online games. Kids don’t read much anymore. Attention spans are dwindling. ADD and ADHD are too prevalent. Too many kids are autistic. WHile we don’t have answers to this, we have to look at trying something different. You never know what might grab a kid. Don’t let autism fool you, there’s some minds in there trapped and they could become the greatest yoyo players if that’s what they connect with. Then again, there’s a lot of broken children who will never get a fair shot because of their disability.
So, to those packing my yoyo orders, the variety is due in part to have something to show people, but I certainly intend to use them as well. All for show and not for throw? No way. I’ll learn a trick just to show the feature if I have to. I am not buying just to collect, I am buying to explore, to share, to inform.
Kids just need exposure to many things. Sports, board games, SOCIAL INTERACTIONS, bowling, chess, checkers, jacks, wind-up toys(I like those too), skill games and toys. Something you actually interact with that doesn’t need voltage.
Yoyo is fun. Now with YYF offering BOTTOM DOLLAR prices on massively fun throws(the ONE, the WHIP at $10 each? When they gonna come out with a looper at that price? Next month?), having a killer yoyo is almost within anyone’s grasp. Yes, you can always move up, but why so soon?
Granted, I won’t get sponsored by any company unless they just want a “ambassador of goodwill” for their product. I’ll never be competitive level skilled. But, you know what, I’m gonna have a great time every second of the way. And for every person I can bring a little joy to and open their mind just a tiny little bit, I’ll have met my goals. It’s not about sales, it’s about sharing. And if I can teach a kid a trick, then even better. Hey, I’m all open to sponsorship, but I’m just not the ideal candidate, but I won’t turn down an offer if it was presented to me.
Yoyo should be fun, enjoyable, positive and SHARED. For me, it’s something I can do whenever, almost where-ever. I can even do it on shows while ringing out monitors or waiting for things to happen. I can do it behind the big sound console during panels when things are running on auto pilot. Plus, I’m also battling depression and this is sure helping me get a little bit out of it. Sure is better than drugs to treat depression, which I ain’t gonna take anyways.
I’m so glad I just decided “hey, I’m gonna do this”. Best thing I’ve done in a while for myself. LONG while.